The spider plant has been popular for decades as a low-maintenance houseplant with plenty of personality. With its strappy arching leaves, it looks equally pretty on a tabletop or in a hanging basket where its draping form is highlighted. They’re forgiving houseplants that can live for many years with the right conditions, and they also generate cute baby plants, called plantlets, that dangle from long stems. “It’s an endearing plant, it’s easy to find, and it’s inexpensive, so it’s a great addition to any home,” says Lisa Eldred Steinkopf, author of Houseplant Party and thehouseplantguru.com. “There are many different varieties available as well.”
Here’s everything you need to know to care for the spider plant.
How much light does my spider plant need?
Spider plants do best in medium to bright light. They’ll take low light but won’t look great because they tend to get leggy and floppy in time, says Steinkopf. They’re happiest in east-or west-facing windows, and they’ll do fine in south-facing windows. But don’t put them in direct sunlight, which will cause burns. If your house is too dark, get an inexpensive LED grow light to give them what they need.
How often should I water my spider plant?
Spider plants like steady moisture. That doesn’t mean you should drench your plant, but spider plants do like soil that’s evenly moist. If your home is super-dry, especially in winter, place your plant on a tray filled with pebbles. Keep water in the tray to boost the humidity level around the plants. Misting isn’t necessary, but go ahead and do it if it makes you feel better! You also can get a small humidifier to run or group several other plants together, which will increase overall humidity in the area.
Should I fertilize my spider plant?
As long as your plant is getting adequate light, it’s making its own food. But it doesn’t hurt to feed it occasionally, if you like. Remember that like outdoor plants, your plant isn’t growing much in winter, so feed it only from spring to fall. Choose any general all-purpose houseplant fertilizer, and apply it at ¼ to ½ strength the package directions.
Why does my spider plant have brown tips on the leaves?
Don’t worry! It’s very common with spider plants and doesn’t mean you’re a bad plant parent. There are many different reasons these occur, such as inconsistent watering or minerals in your tap water, which can build up in the soil. Trim off the brown bits into a pointed shape, then try watering with distilled water, filtered water, or rain water from now on, suggests Steinkopf. It also may help to flush the pot occasionally by watering until it runs out the drain holes.
You can make new spider plants from the “babies.”
When you see little root nubs on the babies, trim the plantlet off and place in another pot of soil. Use a bent paper clip to keep it in contact with the soil, water as usual, and that’s it! Or you can set a smaller pot next to the big plant, and place the plantlet in the soil of the smaller pot while still attached to the mother plant. That way, it’s getting nutrients until it’s rooted, when you can cut the stem from the original plant. It’s also fine to leave the babies in place if you like the looks of them.
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